When to cancel E-mail
It seems that most people have Internet connections and use E-mail these days. Broadband, of course. Dial-up connections are archaic. (I have a dial-up connection.) I don’t know if it’s really true, but it really does seem that way anyway. Some people use webmail only without a home connection. Without paying to have an Internet connection at their homes, they use webmail through other people’s computers - friends, workplace, etc. Many people have more than one E-mail address, too. (I have two.) Soon there will be more E-mail addresses than there are people on the planet, if there aren’t already. My question is, when a person dies, what happens to their E-mail addresses? Maybe the family knows the address, the Internet connection company and the account number and can cancel a home connection in order to stop the credit card charges. Or, if a person dies then payment of the connection fees cease when the credit cards are cancelled. Or, perhaps the address will expire by design within a certain time frame. Perhaps all of those purely webmail addresses - Gmail, Yahoo, etc. - expire if they are left dormant more than a certain number of days or months. Perhaps people cancel their E-mail connections when they retire. Or, maybe they keep it after retirement in order to stay better connected but then cancel it when they can no longer livein their own homes and have to face entering a retirement home or nursing home. Or, maybe as people age and their contact with the world diminishes and they recognize the End they voluntarily cancel their own E-mail accounts when they decide that the cost outweighs the advantages of connection (overall decline in quantity and quality of E-mail). Maybe in late life relinquishing of E-mail addresses - and other current technological accoutrements, like a cell phone - is comparable to relinquishing of one’s drivers license. Currently we are in the first generation of people with E-mail. And although people have E-mail addresses and people are dying every day, it is still too soon to see patterns. Maybe there will never be a pattern.
Come to think of it - and on another modern technology-related point - how does one safely dispose of one’s computer, either when you retire, die, or just buy a newer machine and are tired of, or finished with the old one? I hope people do not neglect to think that they cannot just through it in the trash or sell it with all their personal data still saved on the hard drive. If you turn it over to a middleman, a business that specializes in disposing of old computers you still have to delete, erase, or wipe clear the entire memory. I have owned only two computers for use at home - both laptops (appropriate to the close space of my apartment). The machine I am typing on now is my second computer, and it is a few years old. The older machine that I used before I still have, stored in a computer carrying case. I keep it partly because there is information still stored in its hard drive, partly as a back-up for my current computer, partly out of ignorance, and partly out of sheer laziness.